How the Deadlift Improved My Life

Dooley Noted: 12/16/2014

My business partner, Jason Kapnick, is an elite powerlifter.

He deadlifts over 600 pounds.

What’s special about Jason is that he isn’t condescending to people who are new to the strength world. He encourages people to be what he affectionately calls “animals.”

In September, I deadlifted 225 pounds for one rep and felt a sharp pain in my left SI joint.

That pain lasted for two weeks and ruined my training and general sense of joy.

Kettlebell deadlifting and barbell deadlifting are quite different, and I didn’t yet understand the technique changes I needed to make to keep safe.

So, I healed up. Rather than be scared to deadlift, I went to an expert.

I had zero hesitation when I asked Jason to teach me to deadlift with perfect form.

He sent me a popular program doing submaximal work. This ten-week program was about to change my life, and I didn’t see it coming!

It’s just a barbell deadlift, right?

What’s the big deal?

Jason rocked my world as he showed me I was going into too much low back extension.

He taught me to be safe in approaching a more neutral low back position.

He showed me the narrowing I personally needed in my stance.

We worked on coordinated breathing to maximize spinal protection.

It all seemed much like what I teach to someone when rehabilitating the back.

It was all the things people with low back pain tend to be scared to do.

So, the program started off moderately light on week 1, at 165 pounds for 5 sets of 5 reps.

Although it was lighter, my technique was more solid. I felt safer.

In the ten weeks that followed, the weights went up by 5-10 pound increments, finishing at 215 pounds for 2 sets of 2.

I never deviated. I stuck with the program and gave it a fair shot.

Here were the results:

1. My right valgus collapse dramatically improved to the point of being not visible.

2. My chin-ups and pull-ups became markedly more solid and easier to execute.

3. My SI joint pain completely vanished.

4. My abs were easier to feel and to engage in all activities.

5. My butt and hamstrings came alive in my one-arm push-up.

6. My quiet breathing improved, due to enhanced ab loading with intra-abdominal pressure building.

7. My 20 kilo strict kettlebell press became markedly easier, as I wedged myself under the bell with more ease.

8. I looked forward to every Monday, as I was excited to deadlift pain-free and get results from every aspect of training.

9. I took something that used to cause me discomfort and turned it into something to which I looked forward.

10. Lat, ab, and glute activation in everything I do is no longer a chore. And when you have these three things, you are approaching a world of stability.

11. The 215 pound day felt so much easier and more explosive than the 185 day, even though it was heavier. I got stronger by doing less than my max with better technique.

Jason watched my first and last set each week, and his critiques were priceless. His expert eye helped with glitches, but he never overly nuanced me.

I had to pick up heavy things, and he made sure I was accurate in doing it.

I was bummed as I finished the program, begging Jason for a new one.

If you are scared to deadlift, don’t be. You simply need solid technique and to work in a submaximal zone for a little while.

If you have sticking points or plateaus in your training, seriously consider adding in submaximal deadlifting.

If you haven’t been coached in a quality deadlift, hire someone like Jason.

As always, it’s your call.

– Dr. Kathy Dooley

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Jesse Connor, LMT, NKT

Hands down the most influential person, educator, healer that I will ever meet in my ife. If every physician had her dedication, this world would be a better place.

Bruce Fink

Executive Vice President Enterprise Lighting Sales, New York City, NY

“Twenty years ago, while doing a mile repeat workout as part of my training for a marathon, I felt a sharp pain in my groin. Over the twenty years since, the pain grew more and more persistent and often would radiate up through my hip and into my lower back. I tried many things to help this pain that consistently hampered my training, until about one year ago when I met Dr. Kathy Dooley. I stopped running for over six months at one point as a recovery method, only to have this sharp pain return after less than two weeks of running. At that point I stopped running completely, but continued to do cardiovascular exercise on elliptical trainers and exercise bikes, but the pain continued to get worse. I went to many different doctors. An orthopedic surgeon told me that if I continued to run, I would ultimately need a hip replacement. An OD checked my skeletal system and could not find anything, but

suggested that I have a surgeon check for a hernia, because it may be the intestine getting pinched by atorn portion of the muscle. I went to the surgeon and I did have a triple hernia operation. This did not fix the groin, hip or back problem. I went to chiropractors and found that that did nothing at all. In 2010 I did an all-day strenuous hike. By the time I got off the plane home, I could barely stand up straight. A friend convinced me to go see one more chiropractor. I had nothing to lose, so I went to see Dr. Dooley. She told me that my groin, hip and back were not the problem, but the symptoms. The problem was twofold, one part being

my groin and hip and the other my lower back. My glutes were not firing on time and consequently, the small muscles in the groin and hip were working to compensate for them. The groin, being the smallest of these, would pull first and if I was not smart enough to stop running when that bothered me, my hip flexors would go next. The lower back was just as interesting to me. In thinking that my hips were not strong enough and that was why it hurt so much, I did an over abundance of hip strengthening. Well, my hips got so tight that they could not swivel appropriately, so my lower back was compensating. This was the reason that my back kept giving out. Dr. Dooley gave me a number of exercises to get my glutes to fire on time and to

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Heather Davis, BSc

Doctor of Chiropractic Candidate

“As if being a Neuroanatomy and Gross Anatomy student of Dr. Kathy Dooley wasn’t enough of a pleasure, I have the opportunity to encounter Dooley Noted blogs every day. Discovering not only the topic of the next blog, but learning what knowledge bomb the great and talented Dr. Dooley drops for her followers is always my pre-class early morning highlight. Daily familiarizing oneself with the vast amount of chiropractic, medical, nutritional, biomechanical, and general life tidbits occupying themselves in such a brilliant mind lends us a glimpse of the inner workings of a bona fide juggernaut.”

Tyler Kowalski, MSc, DC

“I truly have enjoyed reading your Dooley Noted posted every day.  They give you fun facts and great health advice.  They also inspire you to be a better doctor, and encourage you to live your life to the fullest.”

Eric Rojals, MPT

University of Barcelona

“I have to admit that I have been Dooley-ed. It was during my two month recovery from a shattered pelvis when I found through internet a bunch of movement specialist speaking about how to move better. Things are not easy, and my fracture was pretty bad. But I learned to walk again. It was during my recovery that I started to read the Dooley Noted blogs.Dr. Dooley belongs to NKT practitioners group and her statements on the forum are always brilliant. It’s like, how the hell does she knows that?! It was then when I started to receive these boosting daily pills pf Dooley Noted, and I am now a Dooley Noted junkee. It helps me to wake up in the morning earlier despite the weather to walk as a warming up for my gym rehab exercises. If you are not aware, Dr.Dooley is a kind of vampire that doesn’t sleep. I use to get up at 7am and I receive Dooley notes at 10am. In Spain we have 6 hour gap with NY, so I always think: Is she really writing at 4am? So I have no excuse to be lazy in the morning! Dooley Noted blogs also help me to have commitment with myself, to not look for excuses to not do my exercises, my research, my diet. They remind me to take care of my patients as they were my family, to learn everyday, to let go my fears and not punish myself that I didn’t catch a faulty movement in a patient. And the most important thing, she always appears to me when I am in front of an escalator, as if to say, ‘DON’T EVEN DARE!’ Dooley Noted reminds me everyday that I have to be passionate about my family, my wife, my friends, my job, my life. I don’t want to stop drinking this medicine! “

Christina Ippolito, DC

Co-creator of the Functional Anatomy and Fascial Tensegrity seminar series

“Dr. Dooley has been a mentor of mine since I began my chiropractic career. The enthusiasm, charisma, and motivation that she brought into the anatomy lab inspired me to learn everything I possibly could about the human body and human movement. I would not have the opportunities I have come across without her guidance and the example she sets to never stop learning. She continues teaching other and me through Dooley Noted blogs,  and she is a constant spark and reminder to always do my best in life. She inspired me to want to start teaching, in hopes that I may affect people’s lives the way she has affected mine. I am lucky to call her both a colleague and friend, and I look forward to learning from her and teaching with her for years to come.”

Perry Nickelston, DC, FMS, SFMA

Owner, Stop Chasing Pain, and Pain Laser Center

‘Dr. Dooley is the shining example of a gifted healer who makes the world a better place. She is a dear friend, mentor, teacher, and true giver in every sense of the word. One of my favorite ways of learning is via her inspiring and entertaining ‘Dooley Noted’ blog series. One ‘Dooley Note’ can change your life. Read it. Live it. Share it. I sure do.’

Marc Andresen

CPT, CK-FMS, RKC/SFG

“I found out about Dr. Dooley, who just earned her RKC  and set up an appointment with her. The courtesy, knowledge, attention, and professionalism she exhibited are not commonly seen in the medical profession. NKT and the RKC are fortunate to be represented by her.
My visit was not pain-related. I was looking to ‘clean up’ some movement before stepping up to RKC II. Previous PT’s didn’t understand this – how can you fix something that doesn’t hurt? With Kathy’s experience in both organizations, she understood without questioning and proceeded with treatment. I left her office, got home, found my homework (emailed from Kathy), and got one of the best workouts in some time. Even hit a clean pistol squat, which I’d been working at for some time.
I could go on and on, including her willingness to analyze video of my kettlebell swing.  I’d refer anyone I know to Dr. Dooley.”

Wesley Schwartz, DC

Owner and chiropractic physician, Schwartz Chiropractic Center

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Kimberly Ford, Bsc

Program Coordinator for State of Indiana, Bureau of Developmental Disabilities

“The biggest thing that Dr. Dooley taught me is to try and be healthy. That is a big deal considering I’ve never tried to be healthy before. My focus was always wanting to lose weight, but there are a lot of unhealthy skinny people out there. Some of the things that I strive for specifically that she taught me are: increase muscle mass, don’t just exercise-move more throughout the day, stretch like my dogs do, eliminate artificial sweeteners, and everything in moderation.”

Danny Fetzner

Assistant Head Gymnastics Coach St Louis Gym Centre

“I had the privilege of spending 6 years with Kathy Dooley by my side. I used to be extremely introverted until she walked into my life. As I began spending more time with her, I realized the absolute infectious personality that seemed to emanate from her. To me, it was overwhelming at first. She could start a conversation with anyone; find a topic of interest and speak for any length of time. Her cheerfulness seemed to be contagious, and her energy and excitement are never-ending. Honestly, I was quite envious! Over the years I observed her and made subtle changes to myself. The way I approached a person, or just the simple way of attacking each day started to change. I am truly a different and better person because of Dr. Kathy Dooley. She inspired me in countless ways to achieve, and to never ever “settle” for something other than amazing.

She has always been enamored with the body. The countless hours I have spent watching her work to benefit other people’s health or train to benefit her own health (eating right, lifting, running, etc) has taught me so many things as well. I coach gymnastics for a living, and find myself using tidbits of information from her everywhere. She is an absolute wealth of knowledge when it comes to the human body, and if you care at all about your body or the health of anyone you come in contact with, then you better consider yourself extremely lucky to have her influence in your repertoire. I know I do.

I can’t tell you how much I enjoy Dooley Noted blogs, and I look forward to it every day. I learn so much from those posts, just as I have learned a lifetime of knowledge that I use every day by merely having her in my life! The best thing to me about Dooley Noted is that every single person can benefit from it in some way. Be it something personal we as readers could fix mentally/physically, or the constant encouragement and inspiration about anything we could possibly think to achieve…Dooley Noted does it all. With each post Dr. Dooley has taken the knowledge and strength gained from experience, and turned it into wisdom.”

David Weinstock

creator of NeuroKinetic Therapy seminar series

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Ann Kokinda

Practice Manager Manhattan Spine and Sports Medicine

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Dr. Michael P. Willemse

Chiropractic Physician Advanced Healing & Pain Relief Center, LLC

“I’ve learned more from Dooley Noted then I do from CEU seminars.”

David Mc Gettigan

GSR, NKT, Bowen Technique Practitioner

“After connecting with Dr.Kathy Dooley online I quite quickly found that she posted everyday about a wide and diverse range of topics all relating to health, performance and humanity. Her play on the the phrase “Duly Noted” was clever but I don’t think that it was by chance that she found herself posting “Dooley Noted” each day. Some people have a commitment, a passion and a drive to help others and to empower
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Sharla Ahrens

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Tsvetan Vassilev

NKT, SFMA

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